The Bills offense was historically struggling entering the first time they played the Jets a month ago.
Since that afternoon inside MetLife Stadium, things have really taken flight.
The points followed in the Meadowlands (41 points on 451 total yards of offense), but have not been completely in sync since (327 yards of total offense against the Jaguars = 24 points, 415 yards of total offense against the Dolphins = 17 points).
As the Jets reportedly seek payback for the beat down suffered in week 10, let’s dive into a match-up that sees a change at quarterback for both teams.
Josh Allen has been the best player on the field for the Bills in the two games since returning from an elbow sprain. His 259 total yards of offense against Jacksonville were 79.2% of the team’s total offense (327). That number rose to 88.2% in the loss to Miami (366 of the 415 total yards accumulated by Allen). A lot of that has been gathered on the ground, setting the franchise record in rushing yards for a quarterback in back-to-back weeks. Sean McDermott saying this week that it is a delicate balance when telling a QB to scale back the running in favor of passing, referencing his time around Donovan McNabb and Cam Newton. Running is part of Allen’s threat and he is taking off now at more appropriate times as opposed to when he seemed eager to leave the pocket earlier this season. Jets are middle of the road in the NFL against the pass.
Top 10 Showdown
While Jets head coach Todd Bowles won’t officially say it, Sam Darnold has been a full participant in practice all week and is not listed on the injury report, so we should expect to see him starting Sunday. His match-up against Josh Allen will be just the second time two of the top QBs from the 2018 draft class meet this season (Baker Mayfield entered mid-game against Darnold and the Jets week 3). Allen downplayed the battle earlier this week, saying he isn’t facing Darnold, but the entire Jets team. He did go on to say the two talked a little back in April after being drafted how they just may be facing each other twice a season for years and years to come. Could this be the first glimpse of a decade-plus long divisional rivalry.
Darnold has missed the past three games with a foot injury, but as I said above, is expected to return against the Bills. Overall, the third overall pick has struggled this rookie season. He leads the NFL in interceptions with 14, despite only playing in nine. Darnold has thrown at least one INT in seven of those nine games ,multiple INTs in four, including four in his last game against the Dolphins on November 4th. The Bills defense has 11 interceptions on the season and is tops in the NFL against the pass (187.2 YPG), so all signs point to Darnold’s troubles continuing in his return.
The Bills have scored points in the first quarter in just four of their 12 games this season. Those are the only games they’ve won. That includes 14 points in the 1st against the Jets (17 vs. MIN, 7 vs. TEN, 14 vs. NYJ, 14 vs. JAX). So there you have the key to victory: put up points in the first 15 minutes.
We are in the midst of one of the NFL’s best initiatives, My Cause My Cleats. Players around the league can design their shoes to support any organization or foundation that is important to them. Here is what rookie defensive tackle Harrison Phillips is spotlighting Sunday.
Bills and Jets get things underway Sunday afternoon at 1 pm from New Era Field.